This time of year, we have an itch to get in touch with all things that scare us. Probably nothing scares us human beings as much as our own mortality, so when we hear stories of ghosts and hauntings we get a thrill that both makes us jump at something we don’t understand, and find peace as we may have a chance at this afterlife thing, afterall.
If your city doesn’t have many opportunities for ghost sightings, you may want to make a trip to NYC. Not only is it a big city, but it’s an old city as far as American standards are concerned. When a city is older, it means there were more opportunities for people to live, and die, there. More than a few of those spirits have hung around.
While not an exhaustive list, here are our favorite three haunted places in New York:
1. One if by Land, Two if by Sea
One if by Land, Two if by Sea is one of the most romantic restaurants in NYC. With candlelit tables, a private garden, and a baby grand, it hosts innumerable weddings and engagements each year. The restaurant is inside a historic landmark: a carriage house from the 1760s owned by Vice President Aaron Burr. Even though centuries have passed since the building’s erection, some believe Burr is still there.
In fact, the restaurant is reported to be haunted by more than 20 ghosts, some of whom have even been spotted by eye. Largely the ghosts are known to be friendly pranksters, bumping into people, and letting the occasional plate fly. If you want to eat elegantly among spirits who harbor no ill will, there’s few better options than this historic restaurant.
2. Merchant’s House Museum
Seabury Treadwell, hardware tycoon, moved his family to what is now the Merchant’s House Museum in 1835. While the last occupant descendant passed away there in 1933, many believe that the family never left. Over the course of the Treadwell’s time in the house, eight funerals were held in the parlor in traditional 19th century fashion. Today, the exact same furnishings remain in the home, and budget-conscious ghost hunters can take a tour to try to find the ghosts among them.
Finding one isn’t difficult, and the museum helps in this season of spooks by providing numerous spirit-welcoming tours. You can go to a mock funeral, reenacting the days after one of the Treadwell’s deaths. You can take a candlelight tour of the parlor/funeral home sans electricity, or go listen to professionally-told ghost stories in an already haunted setting.
3. The Ear Inn
A popular watering hole since it opened in the 1830s, The Ear Inn was particularly well-traveled by sailors docking ship. In the 1960’s one of those sailors was tragically hit by a car outside of the establishment, ending his life. His ghost, known as Mickey, frequents the establishment, reportedly lighting the fire in the fireplace to remind patrons he’s still around.
When you’re on a ghost tour trip, it can be tempting to stay in a haunted hotel. If you’re okay getting no shut eye, there are, indeed, a few of those in the city that never sleeps. However, we’d recommend seeking out spirits where they live, and trying to get some shut eye yourself at a haunt-free hotel like Hotel Riu Plaza in Times Square.